Published: Saturday, 06 September 2014 10:16
HRH The Countess of Wessex, Patron of the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO), visited the UK Sail Training fleet at the Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival on Friday (5 September).
Over 280 young people from a wide range of backgrounds sailed in the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta on board 19 boats operated by ASTO members.
The Countess of Wessex joined the trainees on board the Sail Training vessel, John Laing, operated by the Ocean Youth Trust South for a short passage down the Thames from HMS President to Wood Wharf, Canary Wharf where most of the ASTO fleet is berthed.
ASTO Chairman James Stevens then introduced The Countess of Wessex to the trainees who sailed from Cornwall to the capital under the ASTO banner.
Commenting on the visit, Stevens said: "I was delighted that our Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex met many of the trainees who were on board our ASTO Sail Training vessels in the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta. I'm also thrilled that she was able to attend our reception on board the Jubilee Sailing Trust's tall ship Tenacious to congratulate the ASTO skippers - not only for achieving great results in the race but also for the vital work they do providing challenge and adventure for young people."
The ASTO fleet posted outstanding results in the race, with the Cirdan Trust's Duet taking the overall win according to provisional results. Among the trainees on board were three 15-year-old police cadets from Enfield.
Also on board was 18-year-old Hannah Collins, a cadet instructor also from Enfield. "This was the first time I've ever sailed and I'm so pleased to have had the chance to experience it. I was a bit apprehensive when we set off from Falmouth but once I got into it I relaxed and started enjoying it," she said.
"I had a fantastic time and it was really great to have such support and trust from the team. It was also inspirational and, to win the event overall, made it all worthwhile. To be honest I would never have dreamed of taking part and I certainly didn't realize the gravitas of the event before I got on board," she added.
"I learnt a lot about technique and also about leadership development skills which will help me with my career in the future," said Hannah, who hopes to become a police commissioner in the future.
For further information about Sail Training, ASTO and its member organisations search this website. ASTO will have a stand at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich during the festival. Come and talk to us and find out how you can take part in Sail Training.
Published: Wednesday, 27 August 2014 14:18
ASTO and UK Sail Training are represented in Falmouth for the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta.
19 of the vessels taking part in the regatta are ASTO members, which means they do Sail Training voyages with youung and disabled people year round. Visit the stand on County Wharf in Falmouth or browse this website for more information.
Sail to Adventure includes more information about Sail Training.
Find your ship links you to the organisations operating the ships.
About ASTO gives you more information about the Association of Sail Training Organisations and what we do to support Sail Training in the UK.
Up to date information about the regatta is on our Facebook page (you don't need to be a member of Facebook to read the updates).
Published: Tuesday, 19 August 2014 18:57
(by John Robertson, The Press and Journal)
Gordonstoun pupils and staff completed the last leg of a celebratory 80-day sailing voyage around the United Kingdom at Plockton yesterday.
Aboard the 80ft Ocean Spirit of Moray, more than 100 pupils and faculty members sailed over ten legs to mark the school's 80th anniversary.
Student Billy Forsyth, one of 10 pupils who sailed from Portsmouth to Bristol, said: "It took us 12 days and, literally, we had plain sailing for the most of it.
"The weather was wonderful, the wind was great, and nothing went wrong.
"We went out with a really good group of teachers and pupils who I didn't know from different year groups and teachers who had never taught me before, and it was really good to get to know them.
"There were people who sail all the time, people like me who just like to mess about on the boats, and people who hadn't sailed at all, so it was a really good mixture of abilities and we were able to teach each other."
The Ocean Spirit of Moray's primary function is as a Sail Training vessel for students, and at times when conditions were either too rough or too calm to sail, the four permanent crew members practiced emergency scenarios.
Seventeen-year-old Billy started at Gordonstoun at the age of nine and said he simply could not pass up the chance to get involved in the school's birthday celebrations before he leaves to pursue a degree in film studies at Oxford Brookes University in September.
He said: "This was my fifth Gordonstoun trip, and I sail smaller dinghies with a friend of mine.
"The guy in charge of sailing at Gordonstoun stood up in an assembly in February and announced the trip.
"I was sitting next to one of my mates and we just looked at each other and thought, 'yeah, that would be brilliant'.
"In the summer the boat does tall ship races and last year they went up to the Arctic to Spitsbergen in Norway, so the boat gets used the whole summer."
All Gordonstoun students undergo a programme of seamanship as part of the curriculum, and the sail training school's founder, Karl Hahn, described the Moray Firth as "my best schoolmaster".
When asked if he could sum up the trip in three words, Billy said: "Really good fun. That would be the best way to describe it."
Published: Monday, 18 August 2014 15:58
Retired engineer John Williams challenges North East public to predict how long he'll take to sail around Great Britain and Ireland for charity fundraiser
(North Shields, August 15 – 2014) Retired engineer John Williams has challenged the North East public to guess how long he'll take to complete one of the world's most gruelling sailing races, to raise funds for a local youth charity.
John, from Cullercoats in North Shields, volunteers with Ocean Youth Trust North, a Sail Training and youth development charity, and is part of a crew taking on a 2000+ mile sailing race around Great Britain and Ireland.
John and nine crew mates set off from Cowes on the Isle of Wight on Wednesday and will race a 54 foot yacht around the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland, with the aim of completing the race within two weeks.
The Round Britain and Ireland Race takes place every four years and is widely regarded in British sailing as the ultimate test of endurance and skill for yachtsmen and women.
John, said: 'I have sailed all over the world, from Greenland to Cape Horn but I regard this challenge as one of the toughest tests I'll ever face.
The Round Britain and Ireland is nearly as long as an Atlantic crossing and the changes of direction at headlands, the variety of weather conditions and complex tidal streams will mean we will have to be on full alert the entire time we are racing and keep an intensive watch schedule.
My grandchildren may think I'm nuts but the team has been training for this event since Spring and has completed over 500 miles of shorter races to qualify us to take part."
John is asking the North East public to help him raise funds to support the life changing work Ocean Youth Trust North does with young people.
Read more: North East Retiree’s gruelling ocean time challenge
Published: Thursday, 24 July 2014 13:52
Young people from Sail Training organisations around the UK have travelled to Scotland this week to take part in the Small Ships Race organised by ASTO and RYA Scotland. Three of the vessels are later participating in a major Tall Ships Regatta at the end of August.
A total of nine vessels started the race on Tuesday with around 120 young people aged between 12 and 25 on board from a wide range of backgrounds.
Challenge Wales, Maybe and Swan will all be honing their racing skills this week ahead of taking part in the Falmouth to Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Regatta from 28 August, organised by Sail Training International. Each has space for 12 young people on board and have travelled from Cardiff (Challenge Wales), Shetland (Swan) and the east coast of Yorkshire (Maybe) to take part.
They are each very different vessels with their own interesting history but now with Sail Training in common.
Read more: Small Ships Race is a good warm up for taking on the Tall Ships later this Summer